If you ask around for the qualities that single out the very best recruiters two core skills usually emerge.First they have a real understanding of what makes people tick, a quality that allows them to quickly establish rapport and build trust. Ally this with a strong commercial instinct and you get well-placed candidates, satisfied clients and build regular business.
Not everyone is born with this dazzling combination but don’t worry, you can develop these skills and add a few other qualities and carve out a great career in the recruitment industry.
Enjoy the challenge
Recruitment is a sales business, there’s no getting away from that fact. You have targets and you have to meet them but the really successful recruiters quickly understand how to build a strategy to meet their objectives. No two plans are the same and each recruiter will develop their own techniques over time but knowing you’ve got a way to be successful gives you a brilliant base to build from.
Know your Industry
There’s no substitute for genuine knowledge of your industry. Awareness of news and current trends gives you credibility, authority and quickly establishes trust. The best recruiters use their knowledge to bring extra insight to the hiring process for both clients and candidates and can offer advice and insight into what the rest of the market is looking for, changing skill sets and industry trends.
Thankfully the internet now offers savvy recruiters the perfect place to promote themselves and demonstrate their expertise. Highlighting and commenting on industry news, providing commentary and provoking debate will all help you attract and grow a network of clients and candidates.
On a purely practical level knowing your market means you can give candidates insights into the companies you’re recruiting for. Providing context and background on details they wouldn’t ordinarily pick up will help you help them to make an informed decision about whether they want to apply for a role.
An understanding of the industry also means you can more effectively negotiate salary packages and give advice on how the marketplace is changing and what extra training a candidate may need to fulfil their career aspirations.
Recruitment is an industry built for experimenting. The growth of digital and social media, giving easier access to candidates, and the huge increase in websites, job boards and niche staffing companies means that the recruiters who innovate will the ones that really succeed.
Developing new ways of doing things, different ways of talking to clients and candidates are key to building your own business within recruitment. Social media in particular gives you the chance to reach candidates with different messages and to talk to smaller groups with a more specialised message. Tactics like mass mailings are increasingly unlikely to find an audience with people who are getting personalised emails from their banks and supermarkets. Smart, targeted communications that add value, share knowledge or offer insight are all far more likely be opened than a generic blanket campaign.
Networking, networking, networking
We’ve already touched on networking when you’re building an online presence but whatever channel you’re using recruiting is a relationship business. It really is all about building strong bonds with people. Great recruiters have a large network of business contacts to help them find the best talent for clients and suitable jobs for their candidates. With a great network, contacts are always easily accessible so you can find the jobs and talent quickly and easily.
Always work on expanding your network, be out there, in person, a call away or via social media. Ensuring constant engagement with the relationships you build and making sure you follow up on all you commit too.
Your success as a recruiter is due, in part, to the people you know and how they communicate with you. It is key to build rapport in order for your network to wanting to use your recruitment services. Your reputation is everything and remember, first impressions count!
Listening actively and communicating effectively
A philosopher once said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. Good listening skills ensure you get all the information you need when speaking with candidates or clients. With the right information you’re best placed to make the best use of it to meet their needs.
The best recruiters are experts at active listening. Active listening is really just having a great conversation, with a stranger. Don’t go in with your list of standard questions, instead have a conversation, listen to them and ask things based on that they’re saying and sometimes on the things they’re not saying. Successful recruiters know the right way to speak to everyone from the MD and CEO to the researcher and receptionist and they adapt their communication styles. Take the opportunity to listen to how colleagues speak to people, watch their interactions and take your cues from the best.
Take the Positives
Recruitment can have its highs and lows, there’ll be times when the jobs and candidates seem to be matching themselves and others when no-one wants your roles and the clients won’t take your calls. Those are the times you have to stay positive, you’ll get through it, by using some of the techniques we’ve already touched on you’ll work your way through it and emerge stronger for it too. Always remember to be supportive of your colleagues if they’re going through a lean period.
These tips have been put together by Danielle van der Vegt, Talent Acquisition Lead Consultant, Netherlands. If you’d like to gain more insight into recruitment, get in touch with us or check out our most recent job opportunities.